Though James Cameron’s “Avatar” has gone on to become the top-grossing film of all time and Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” has also led the box office in recent weeks, Michael Bay still isn’t sold on 3-D.
The “Transformers” franchise director told Deadline.com that 3-D cameras were too bulky for his complicated action scenes – and he was disappointed with post-production 3-D conversions.
“I shoot complicated stuff, I put real elements into action scenes and honestly, I am not sold right now on the conversion process,” he told the site.
The director told the site that he shot test footage with 3-D cameras but thought the cameras were too unwieldy for his purposes on the upcoming third “Transformers” film. As for converting the film after the fact, as was done with the upcoming “Clash of the Titans,” Bay said what he’s seen hasn’t met his standards.
“I am trying to be sold, and some companies are still working on the shots I gave them. Right now, it looks like fake 3-D, with layers that are very apparent,” he said. “People can say whatever they want about my movies, but they are technically precise, and if this isn’t going to be excellent, I don’t want to do it. And it is my choice.
“I’m used to having the A-team working on my films, and I’m going to hand it over to the D-team, have it shipped to India and hope for the best?” he continued. “This conversion process is always going to be inferior to shooting in real 3-D. ‘Avatar’ took four years. You can’t just s*** out a 3-D movie. I’m saying, the jury is still out.”
“Transformers 3” is slated for a July 2011 release, giving it a much shorter window than “Avatar’s” lengthy gestation.
Bay added that a 3-D post-processing could add another $30 million to the “Transformers” budget, though higher ticket prices for a 3-D film could recoup the additional expenditure.
However, James Cameron himself told Access Hollywood on Tuesday that he wanted Hollywood to approach 3-D the way he did – not as a last-minute way to a quick buck.
“I think they’re jumping over some critical steps. Filmmakers should want to make their movies in 3-D,” Cameron said. “The director that directed ‘Clash of the Titans,’ he didn’t direct a 3-D movie, he directed a 2-D movie and they slapped 3-D on it at the last second in a way that I don’t think that can possibly work. I’m happy to be wrong on that because [‘Avatar’s’] Sam Worthington stars in the film and I’d love for it to work, but I don’t see how you can convert a movie in 8 weeks and have it be anything but a pile of c***.”
Cameron further reminded studios that almost half of the production of “Avatar” was spent on figuring out how to craft the 3-D elements organically.
“We spent two years figuring out how to do it before we shot a damn thing on ‘Avatar,’” he said. “It was really a two-and-a-half year movie that took four-and-a-half years… I think [3-D has] become a studio top-down cram-down on filmmakers, as opposed to what it should be, which is directors bubbling up from below.”
According to Deadline, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” “Gulliver’s Travels” and “The Hobbit” are among the upcoming films being considered for future 3-D conversions.